Hot Chocolate: an easy, homemade and healthy version that your kids will love! Ready to enjoy in 5 minutes, it’s a true family favorite! Plus, I have 8 fun variations and over 10 toppings for your kiddos to try!

Graphic for Post- small kids hands reaching for mugs of healthy and homemade hot chocolate - 5 minutes and 5 ingredients.

Hot Chocolate for Kids

As soon as the temperatures start to drop ❄️, a mug of hot chocolate is never a bad idea!

While I have recipes on this blog for my favorite Chocolate Stirring Spoons and Hot Turmeric Cocoa, I don’t have a recipes for a classic hot cocoa. Well here it is!

Usually loaded with sugar, this hot chocolate recipe 🍫 is a healthier option made with milk, cocoa powder, maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla. Easy to make and easier to enjoy!

Made with just 5 easy-to-find ingredients, and ready in 5 minutes, this is a recipe the whole family can get behind 👊!

Don’t forget those toppings!

Hot Chocolate Video

Watch this video to see how easy it is to make this healthy hot cocoa recipe!

Reasons to Love this Homemade Hot Chocolate

  • great for toddlers, kids and adults
  • easy to make on the stovetop
  • ready in 5 minutes
  • 8 fun variations to try
  • over 10 toppings
  • naturally sweetened
  • easy to find pantry ingredients
  • easy to make dairy-free and vegan
  • nut-free
Hot chocolate with toppings ready to serve.

Ingredients

  • Milk: you can use any milk you prefer – regular, almond, cashew, oat, soy, etc. Just make sure that if you are using plant-based milk you don’t get a sweetened flavor such as vanilla. We usually use almond milk and my kids both love it.
  • Cocoa Powder: you can use regular baking cocoa, dark cocoa or cacao powder in this recipe.
  • Maple Syrup: is used to sweeten this hot chocolate. You can also use honey or agave nectar if you prefer. This recipe calls for 1/4 cup of sweetener, and that feels just sweet enough for my family. You can decrease or increase as needed.
  • Vanilla Extract: Use pure rather than imitation for an all-natural drink, if you can. It also tastes better too!
  • Cinnamon: we add just a pinch to bring a little warming spices to our hot cocoa.
  • Salt: I like to add in just a pinch of salt to bring down the sweetness but you can omit this if you want.

Difference between cocoa and cacao powder

Cocoa and cacao powder are very similar as they come from the cacao bean. While cocoa is highly processed and roasted at much higher temperatures and may contain added dairy and sugar, Cacao powder is a minimally processed form of the bean and maintains more of the nutritionally dense antioxidants and nutrients of the cacao bean.

While we usually use cacao powder as I love the earthier taste it has, you fo you! Either of these will work great in for the recipe.

Instructions

  1. Heat: In a small saucepan, add in all of the ingredients.
  2. Whisk: over medium-low heat, whisk occasionally until it just starts to boil. For kids, you don’t want to heat it to a full boil or it will be too hot. For younger kids, check the temperature every few minutes to make sure you get it just right.
  3. Serve: pour into kid-friendly mugs or cups and serve with your favorite toppings.

Tips

  • Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days and reheated on the stovetop.
  • Don’t over boil the hot chocolate. It should just reach a boil when you take it off of the stovetop. If you boil it for too long the cocoa can lose its flavor.
  • Serve it plain or with all your favorite toppings like whipped cream, candy canes, marshmallows and chocolate syrup!
Warm hot chocolate ready to pour and add toppings.

Homemade Hot Chocolate Variations

There is no right or wrong way to serve hot chocolate to your kids, just go with what you are in the mood for!

  • Orange Cocoa: stir in 1/2-1 tsp freshly grated orange zest to the hot chocolate before serving. This is great if you use dark cocoa powder.
  • Mexican Cocoa: add in a very very small pinch of cayenne and a bigger pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon and stir into the hot chocolate before serving.
  • Pumpkin Spice: add 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice to the hot chocolate before serving.
  • Nutella: add in 1 tablespoon of Nutella while mixing. This one definitely needs whipped cream to make it over-the-top amazing!
  • Coconut: use coconut milk while making the cocoa and add a sprinkle of toasted coconut flakes on top of the whipped cream.
  • Almond: add 1/4 tsp almond extract and a pinch of nutmeg to the hot chocolate while mixing.
  • Peanut Butter: add in 1 tablespoon of creamy peanut butter while mixing, serve with pretzel rods for a fun twist.
  • Mamas Cocoa: add in 1-2 ounces (depending on how your day is going) of peppermint schnapps, bourbon, or Baileys into your mug.

Fun Toppings

  • Whipped Cream
  • Shaved Chocolate
  • Sprinkles
  • Candy Canes (we love these dye-free ones)
  • Mini Marshmallows (we love these vegan ones)
  • Pretzel Rods
  • Finely Chopped Nuts
  • Toasted Coconut Flakes
  • Freeze Dried Fruit – Mashed
  • Carmel or Chocolate Sauce
  • Bailey’s Irish Cream, Kahlua or other favorite spirits (for the adults 😉)
2 hands grabbing mugs of hot chocolate.

More Drinks for Kids

Tools Needed

Small hands holding a mug of hot chocolate with toppings!

Get the recipe: Hot Chocolate for Kids

5 stars (5 ratings)
This easy homemade hot chocolate is made with all natural ingredients and no artificial sugar for a tasty healthy option. Ready to enjoy in 5 minutes, it's a true family favorite!

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups milk regular, almond, cashew, oat, etc.
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp cocoa or cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1 pinch sea salt (optional)

Instructions 

  • Heat: In a small saucepan, add in all of the ingredients.
    A small saucepan filled with ingredients for homemade hot chocolate.
  • Whisk: over medium-low heat, whisk occasionally until it just starts to boil. For kids, you don't want to heat it to a full boil or it will be too hot. For younger kids, check the temperature every few minutes to make sure you get it just right.
    Small saucepan with warm hot chocolate ready to serve.
  • Serve: pour into kid-friendly mugs or cups and serve with your favorite toppings.
    2 hands grabbing mugs of hot chocolate.

Notes

Age: 1 year and up
Storage: you can store any leftovers in an air-tight container the fridge for up to 5 days. You will need to reheat the hot chocolate on the stove for 2-3 minutes or until warm. 
Toppings:
  • Whipped Cream
  • Shaved Chocolate
  • Sprinkles
  • Candy Canes (we love these dye-free ones)
  • Mini Marshmallows (we love these vegan ones)
  • Pretzel Rods
  • Finely Chopped Nuts
  • Toasted Coconut Flakes
  • Freeze Dried Fruit – Mashed
  • Carmel or Chocolate Sauce
Variations:
  • Orange Cocoa: stir in 1/2-1 tsp freshly grated orange zest to the hot chocolate before serving. This is great if you use dark cocoa powder.
  • Mexican Cocoa: add in a very very small pinch of cayenne and a bigger pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon and stir into the hot chocolate before serving.
  • Pumpkin Spice: add 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice to the hot chocolate before serving.
  • Nutella: add in 1 tablespoon of Nutella while mixing. This one definitely needs whipped cream to make it over-the-top amazing!
  • Coconut: use coconut milk while making the cocoa and add a sprinkle of toasted coconut flakes on top of the whipped cream.
  • Almond: add 1/4 tsp almond extract and a pinch of nutmeg to the hot chocolate while mixing.
  • Peanut Butter: add in 1 tablespoon of creamy peanut butter while mixing, serve with pretzel rods for a fun twist.
  • Mamas Cocoa: add in 1-2 ounces (depending on how your day is going) of peppermint schnapps, bourbon, or Baileys into your mug.
Calories: 266kcal, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 24mg, Sodium: 129mg, Potassium: 451mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 37g, Vitamin A: 395IU, Calcium: 320mg, Iron: 1mg

Did you make this recipe?

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